As we near the end of our fourth week staying home (for those who can), the news that the government is expected to extend the coronavirus lockdown at this point is met with a collective acceptance and understanding.
Our homes have become our space for work, leisure, activity, entertainment and education under one roof, and I’m incredibly proud of the way that the team at IEG and our clients and candidates have adjusted to this change. We are still adjusting, and we still need to focus on finding productive, healthy and efficient strategies to adapt to the new work-life balance under one roof. A colleague of mine shared an interesting perspective on our working situation last week (as I instinctively moved to hide my step-daughter from our zoom meeting), “Remember you are not working from home; you are at your home, during a crisis, trying to work.”
Working at home during this crisis presents challenges, physically and emotionally and it can have a profound effect on mental health too.
When the government announced the lockdown just over three weeks ago, our starting point at IEG was to ask people in our organisation what support they needed, both in terms of equipment in their homes, as well as emotional support during uncertain times. We instinctively knew that regular communication would be key, but we have also introduced new working habits in an effort to address our new “work-life balance” and the unexpected challenges it brings.
Here are some of our new working habits at home:
- Daily video breakfast sessions, where we set work intentions, but also to simply chat over breakfast as we would in the office kitchen.
- Additional one-to-one power coaching sessions for everyone with business and life coach, Sue Sharp.
- Daily team Zoom exercise classes – with a different member of staff leading each time.
- Mid-week games hour – did you know that ‘Name That Tune’ is possible on zoom?
- Friday 4pm pub quiz – beer optional…
We have also sought out advice for making our working from home life as effective, fruitful and happy as possible. This ranges from advice on maintaining focus, to tips to ensure you keep a healthy work–life balance, avoiding your days and weeks blending into one.
In the interest of continuing to share practices to address the new work-life balance effectively, I’ve compiled a list of 8 top-tips from the IEG team:
- Acknowledge the need for flexibility – this isn’t “WFH” as we know it – there may be background noise during meetings, there might be a need to break up the working day into smaller chunks as we balance home-schooling with homeworking.
- Create a morning routine move, stretch and exercise before you start your working day. This could be a short walk or yoga or dance or anything that gets you moving!
- Set an intentions list at the start of the day and communicate these goals to your team.
- Schedule and take regular breaks to get away from screens and your working area, where possible, and catch up with family and friends.
- Make efficient use of phone calls as an opportunity to stretch your legs and walk around.
- Over communicate – TALK – three weeks in, we are still adjusting to this situation and it’s not easy – share if you’re struggling with it in any way.
- Take time to switch work off and recover – If you feel unwell, your health takes priority.
- Take time out to share the successes of the week, the big and the small.
I hope these pieces of advice help you as much as they have helped us and allow you to continue to make the most of your new work-life balance while those of us who can, do our bit by staying at home.
Finally may I extend my heartfelt thanks to all the clients and candidates we continue to work with during these unusual times. I’m particularly proud of the incredibly brave key workers who are continuing to work/ commencing work in NHS Trusts across the country to manage the facilities and property services From all of us at Insight Executive Group, THANK YOU
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